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December 30, 2019 / Jackie H. Burns

2019: A Year in Review


Feeding does

As I thankfully have a day or two off, I am watching several deer feeding in the edge of my yard as I reflect on the past year and the inevitable arrival of 2020.

Doubtless you’ve seen a lot of new faces at Holmes Veterinary Hospital.   Rest assured the rest of us are still here: myself, Debbie Culbertson, Laura Haupfear, Debra Shepherd, Gina Crane and Melody Finley  are all still here and are working as many hours as we always have.   We miss Vicky McClain’s antics as she has retired, but we hope to be introducing you to some of the new faces in the coming year as we update our web site.

While I’ve given up some of my workload (management and most surgeries), I’m still working 35 to 40 hours a week as a primary care veterinarian.   You’ll find me seeing patients—wellness visits, sick pets and injured pets—as my mission.

Meanwhile, our surgical capacity has grown like gangbusters.  Dr. Joy Culbertson’s mission is to spay and neuter as many pets as possible.  As of a couple of weeks ago, she calculates that she has spayed and neutered 895 dogs, cats and bunnies in 2019.  She has a goal to make it 1000 pets in 2020 and I feel certain she’ll make it.

Dr. Culbertson manages to uphold our workload of sick and injured pet procedures—things such as tumor removals, ingested foreign bodies, bladder stones, lacerations, dental procedures and such as well as doing spay/neuter for animal control and various rescues.  She is also providing reduced cost procedures for qualified owners through Speak For Animals which issues vouchers to people on government assistance.  And trap, neuter and release options are being levered to keep down the population of feral cats.

Scratch Pay

This year we’ve added payment options to make veterinary care easier on your wallet.  We use both Care Credit and Scratchpay, both of which may be applied for on your smartphone and approved while you are still in the exam room.

Speaking of smartphones, technology is expanding our service options.  We have transitioned our practice software to eVetpractice.  This software allows a patient portal through which you can access your pets medical records 24/7.

There is also a PetDesk app for your smartphone.  You can schedule your own appointment right from your phone! While you’re signing up for the PetDesk app, don’t forget to opt in to our Pet Perks Loyalty Program, where you will earn Pet Perks Points that can be redeemed for free stuff!

It’s never been easier to get your pet’s medications and special diets.  Our web store allows you to shop in your pajamas without even going to WalMart.  Our Online Pharmacy powered by Covetrus provides options for regular preventative medications such as heartworm, flea and tick products.  You can save by setting up Autoship options for prescription diets.  You can also take time out of the equation for pets that need special compounded medications.  The days of waiting a week or more for your special-order meds are over.  You can order compounded products in our web store and they are shipped directly to you, speeding the process.

To order products online, simply go to and click on the Online Pharmacy option.

There are a few other odds and ends we’ve added in 2019.  This year we constructed a contagious ward with integrated exam cubby and we also added a cat ward with kitty condos to make cats feel safer away from barking dogs.

2019 also found us looking for ways to give back to the community.

Angel Tree

Animal Control Angel Tree

I continue my volunteer work with a team studying reptiles and amphibians on US Forest Service land in the South Carolina Low Country.  As part of this study, I surgically implant radiotransmitters into wild Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes.  The snakes are transported to Laurens, I do the surgical procedure and they are later released where they were caught allowing biologists to track their movements.

As a corollary to the above work, I gave a presentation at the SC Herpetological Society meeting in November.  My talk was on how I’d improvised a technique to do the implants on snakes with equipment normally used in everyday dog and cat medicine.

In keeping with the snake theme, I am a volunteer veterinary moderator for the National Snakebite Support group.

In September, we participated in World Rabies Day.  You may not know this, but worldwide rabies is a significant disease that results in many, many human deaths.  And it is something so simple that is easily prevented.  To honor this we did 106 free rabies vaccinations in a two day event.  And remarkably, the event was not chaotic like rabies clinics of old because people preregistered for it.

This year Holmes Veterinary staff and clients sponsored a local family of three for Christmas.  Thanks to many generous donations this family was able to have many presents under their tree.   We also displayed an “Angel Tree” in our lobby where people could sponsor a pet for Laurens Country Animal Control.

As I’m winding down my thoughts, the yard-deer have fed, fought over particularly good tidbits, migrated to the woods and then come out and have fed again.   So many things have happened for Holmes Veterinary, it took me two deer-feeding cycles to type it all up!

That, my friends, is a banner year.

Here’s wishing you and yours a blessed 2020.

~Jackie Holmes Burns, DVM

One Comment

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  1. Melissa Staples / Dec 31 2019 6:43 am

    Thanks for all you and you staff have done for us! Bentley our Boston Terrier has never looked or felt so good. We are so happy you all have become a part of our life❤️ Happy New Year🎉

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